Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Lena's Journalin' For Today with Acts 28

When something bad happens or you are under attack, do you ever see good in it, while you are dealing with it, or is it just all bad?
Seeing the possible good is a matter of perspective. In the same situation each of us chooses whether to see through positive or negative eyes. Remember God sees the big picture. We should ask to borrow his “glasses”.
We are in warfare, spiritual warfare. It is not always that bad things happen to come our way because we are doing something wrong. What about doing something right? The enemy hates what is right and righteous. He hates when a human gives the Holy Spirit a body to live in, or when a human allows God’s work to be done through them.
So, the snake bite….Paul was in the will of God, all of the times that are recorded in Acts for us. Yet things came his way, bad things, terrible and horrible things were a part of his daily life’s journey. Did that mean he took the wrong turn, or the right one? It did not mean he missed “God”, as so many of us think of when stuff comes.
No, it was to prove and work the work of God!
The snake bite showed the power of God and released faith among the people’s to receive what Paul demonstrated, which was healing.
He was imprisoned, and then on house arrest. Oh how terrible, or was it?
He had a 12 hr. a day “Bible School” set up for him by the government, where people came to his place, right where he was at, people who were hungry enough to go the distance and take a turn into his house off of their journey’s path. For TWO years he was available for whosoever would come.
What was the big picture? Paul was saved to save, healed to heal, rescued to rescue, restored to restore, known by God to make God known. An ambassador in chains and out. An Apostle/messenger who would, no matter what, get the word out!
He risked his whole life, and God preserved it for His own use.
What do we risk to walk in love? What do we risk to obey God? What do we lay down in our own personalities to be the effective messenger God has appointed and anointed?
The anointing comes to those who love right and hate wrong. Love right in their own lives, hate wrong on the insides first.
Have we also been arrested by the Holy Spirit and made into a whole new person in Christ? Why are we made new? To witness of His life changing power. Saved to save, healed to heal. We are demonstrators of the New Covenant, each and everyday, right where we are. It begins at home, then goes out to church, where we practice it out in a place of grace, and then take it to the very streets we walk.
We’re Acts 29.95 with extra change ( as in coins), today, willingly.
Holy Spirit, have Your way today, in us. Amen!

Acts 28 Today!

Acts 28
Paul on the Island of Malta
1 Once we were safe on shore, we learned that we were on the island of Malta. 2 The people of the island were very kind to us. It was cold and rainy, so they built a fire on the shore to welcome us.
3 As Paul gathered an armful of sticks and was laying them on the fire, a poisonous snake, driven out by the heat, bit him on the hand. 4 The people of the island saw it hanging from his hand and said to each other, “A murderer, no doubt! Though he escaped the sea, justice will not permit him to live.” 5 But Paul shook off the snake into the fire and was unharmed. 6 The people waited for him to swell up or suddenly drop dead. But when they had waited a long time and saw that he wasn’t harmed, they changed their minds and decided he was a god.

7 Near the shore where we landed was an estate belonging to Publius, the chief official of the island. He welcomed us and treated us kindly for three days. 8 As it happened, Publius’s father was ill with fever and dysentery. Paul went in and prayed for him, and laying his hands on him, he healed him. 9 Then all the other sick people on the island came and were healed. 10 As a result we were showered with honors, and when the time came to sail, people supplied us with everything we would need for the trip.

Paul Arrives at Rome
11 It was three months after the shipwreck that we set sail on another ship that had wintered at the island—an Alexandrian ship with the twin gods[a] as its figurehead. 12 Our first stop was Syracuse,[b] where we stayed three days. 13 From there we sailed across to Rhegium.[c] A day later a south wind began blowing, so the following day we sailed up the coast to Puteoli. 14 There we found some believers,[d] who invited us to spend a week with them. And so we came to Rome.
15 The brothers and sisters[e] in Rome had heard we were coming, and they came to meet us at the Forum[f] on the Appian Way. Others joined us at The Three Taverns.[g] When Paul saw them, he was encouraged and thanked God.

16 When we arrived in Rome, Paul was permitted to have his own private lodging, though he was guarded by a soldier.

Paul Preaches at Rome under Guard
17 Three days after Paul’s arrival, he called together the local Jewish leaders. He said to them, “Brothers, I was arrested in Jerusalem and handed over to the Roman government, even though I had done nothing against our people or the customs of our ancestors. 18 The Romans tried me and wanted to release me, because they found no cause for the death sentence. 19 But when the Jewish leaders protested the decision, I felt it necessary to appeal to Caesar, even though I had no desire to press charges against my own people. 20 I asked you to come here today so we could get acquainted and so I could explain to you that I am bound with this chain because I believe that the hope of Israel—the Messiah—has already come.”
21 They replied, “We have had no letters from Judea or reports against you from anyone who has come here. 22 But we want to hear what you believe, for the only thing we know about this movement is that it is denounced everywhere.”

23 So a time was set, and on that day a large number of people came to Paul’s lodging. He explained and testified about the Kingdom of God and tried to persuade them about Jesus from the Scriptures. Using the law of Moses and the books of the prophets, he spoke to them from morning until evening. 24 Some were persuaded by the things he said, but others did not believe. 25 And after they had argued back and forth among themselves, they left with this final word from Paul: “The Holy Spirit was right when he said to your ancestors through Isaiah the prophet,

26 ‘Go and say to this people:
When you hear what I say,
you will not understand.
When you see what I do,
you will not comprehend.
27 For the hearts of these people are hardened,
and their ears cannot hear,
and they have closed their eyes—
so their eyes cannot see,
and their ears cannot hear,
and their hearts cannot understand,
and they cannot turn to me
and let me heal them.’[h]

28 So I want you to know that this salvation from God has also been offered to the Gentiles, and they will accept it.”[i]

30 For the next two years, Paul lived in Rome at his own expense.[j] He welcomed all who visited him, 31 boldly proclaiming the Kingdom of God and teaching about the Lord Jesus Christ. And no one tried to stop him.


Acts 28:11 The twin gods were the Roman gods Castor and Pollux.
Acts 28:12 Syracuse was on the island of Sicily.
Acts 28:13 Rhegium was on the southern tip of Italy.
Acts 28:14 Greek brothers.
Acts 28:15 Greek brothers.
Acts 28:15 The Forum was about 43 miles (70 kilometers) from Rome.
Acts 28:15 The Three Taverns was about 35 miles (57 kilometers) from Rome.
Acts 28:27 Isa 6:9-10 (Greek version).
Acts 28:28 Some manuscripts add verse 29, And when he had said these words, the Jews departed, greatly disagreeing with each other.
Acts 28:30 Or in his own rented quarters.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Lena's Discipleship Journalin to Acts 27 today

Usually words that are truly from God to us, especially about our circumstances, are so mind boggling. They rarely ever make sense.
I was struggling the other day at something the Lord was saying to me personally and I heard the Holy Spirit coaching me, Lena, YOU KNOW MY ways are not your ways, it’s always “backwards” to you.
An example would be- a person has wronged me. If they ask forgiveness I am prepared before God to forgive them. Then God says a backwards thing, forgive them BEFORE they ask! Huh? My minds says that’s backwards! It’s NOT supposed to work that way.
The Bible says our natural man cannot fathom the things that come from God’s Spirit, they are mind clogging. Our brains go “tilt”. Our spirit man wants to follow the ways of God that are not the same as our ways.
Our own ways we’ve followed have led us to hell, into the miry clay, off a cliff, etc. THEY don’t work. So why do I keep trusting the ways my mind tells me? The word is trying to shake my natural mind up. I must discipline and train myself to do the word of God anyway, the backwards stuff, the stuff God says to me, that makes NO sense at all.
These guys were not accustomed or disciplined in following any voice except the voices of their own heads. Their logic and the logic they’d been taught.
Have you ever noticed how quickly books go obsolete? Textbooks in our colleges especially! Isn’t THAT mind boggling? What was just taught the last class has now been improved on and the information is old news, and maybe wrong information!
Does that alone not warn us that we need to hear and follow God’s voice more than ever before? He is the Ancient of Days, knows the end from the beginning, is All knowing and is the same yesterday, today, and forever.
So He says stay here, in a spot where it is usually not a nice place to stay for the winter. Don’t be so short sighted that you have to figure it out or wait for another confirming word before you decide! Paul warns them, you may lose your whole crew (family)!
I’ve seen warnings like this given to the body of Christ in our day, I’ve watched people take the word casually and I see people’s lives even lost and tragedies happening now over taking words spoken by heralds so nonchalantly.
Time to tune in, and not do the norm. Maybe we should listen backwards….Or at least begin to think that way…Step outside of the natural mind of understanding. Not every storm is a trial. Some were invited, or could have been avoided by obedient heedful actions.
Beware, when God’s Spirit has spoken, the weather may change abruptly!!! The wind is stronger than we are.
Yet inside of mistakes and disobediences there is hope if we are still alive to tell of it. God will redeem us, save us and show us His ways again. We may have lost some things, like extra baggage needed to be thrown overboard, but we will have our faith, which is the prize to keep.
Purpose preserves life. Hang around people who have and know of their destined purposes in God, you’ll be alright. Paul needed to stand before Caesar, before he passed away. That was His mission to fulfill. Nothing could take Him away form that plan.
Is there a plan of God you are in heavy pursuit of? On purpose?
What’s your life-line/boat? Human reason or understanding? Paul said, if you cut it off, you’ll not perish!!! WHAT??? Did HE say what I thought he did? Man, that is so backwards! Then he says eat, does he not know we are almost out of food, and now we also are to throw the wheat crop overboard!
Dear God my mind cannot comprehend…..Aha! Your natural mind cannot, but your spirit man can! They had communion with God when they obediently ate, listening to what was a confounding word to their very souls, but life to their spirit man.
The passage said winter. I wonder how cold the water was??? (There goes my natural mind again ) The will of God is worth swimming towards, even in cold water, no matter how disobedient we have been. It’s worth pursuing, even if it means everything else we hoped for is gone.
When was the last time you asked God what His thoughts were on a matter? I mean in a way where you’d hear and heed His backwards to your own understanding thoughts? When was the last time, with a willing to hear and do heart, did you ask God what His plan for you was?
Not telling God what yours is and asking Him to bless it. I mean be willing to throw away your own plans, all of them, to hear His specific ones and change yours over it.
I’ve heard so many people who gloriously want to go to Timbuktu to preach the gospel, yet at home they have no relationships that count. What would be exported? Good works? One’s own plan? God’s order is never the same as mans, man must find the plan of God and place His life inside of it, making His life fit into it, not God’s to fit in His.
Like if God says, change, so I have something to export, and we’re not going to China we’re going to Mexico, what would you say? I rebuke you devil, stop trying to steer me otherwise? Or “Yes Lord, do what You will”?

Today Lena Posts Acts 27 for Our Daily Bread Reading

Acts 27
Paul Sails for Rome
1 When the time came, we set sail for Italy. Paul and several other prisoners were placed in the custody of a Roman officer[a] named Julius, a captain of the Imperial Regiment. 2 Aristarchus, a Macedonian from Thessalonica, was also with us. We left on a ship whose home port was Adramyttium on the northwest coast of the province of Asia;[b] it was scheduled to make several stops at ports along the coast of the province.
3 The next day when we docked at Sidon, Julius was very kind to Paul and let him go ashore to visit with friends so they could provide for his needs. 4 Putting out to sea from there, we encountered strong headwinds that made it difficult to keep the ship on course, so we sailed north of Cyprus between the island and the mainland. 5 Keeping to the open sea, we passed along the coast of Cilicia and Pamphylia, landing at Myra, in the province of Lycia. 6 There the commanding officer found an Egyptian ship from Alexandria that was bound for Italy, and he put us on board.
7 We had several days of slow sailing, and after great difficulty we finally neared Cnidus. But the wind was against us, so we sailed across to Crete and along the sheltered coast of the island, past the cape of Salmone. 8 We struggled along the coast with great difficulty and finally arrived at Fair Havens, near the town of Lasea. 9 We had lost a lot of time. The weather was becoming dangerous for sea travel because it was so late in the fall,[c] and Paul spoke to the ship’s officers about it.
10 “Men,” he said, “I believe there is trouble ahead if we go on—shipwreck, loss of cargo, and danger to our lives as well.” 11 But the officer in charge of the prisoners listened more to the ship’s captain and the owner than to Paul. 12 And since Fair Havens was an exposed harbor—a poor place to spend the winter—most of the crew wanted to go on to Phoenix, farther up the coast of Crete, and spend the winter there. Phoenix was a good harbor with only a southwest and northwest exposure.
The Storm at Sea
13 When a light wind began blowing from the south, the sailors thought they could make it. So they pulled up anchor and sailed close to the shore of Crete. 14 But the weather changed abruptly, and a wind of typhoon strength (called a “northeaster”) burst across the island and blew us out to sea. 15 The sailors couldn’t turn the ship into the wind, so they gave up and let it run before the gale.
16 We sailed along the sheltered side of a small island named Cauda,[d] where with great difficulty we hoisted aboard the lifeboat being towed behind us. 17 Then the sailors bound ropes around the hull of the ship to strengthen it. They were afraid of being driven across to the sandbars of Syrtis off the African coast, so they lowered the sea anchor to slow the ship and were driven before the wind.
18 The next day, as gale-force winds continued to batter the ship, the crew began throwing the cargo overboard. 19 The following day they even took some of the ship’s gear and threw it overboard. 20 The terrible storm raged for many days, blotting out the sun and the stars, until at last all hope was gone.
21 No one had eaten for a long time. Finally, Paul called the crew together and said, “Men, you should have listened to me in the first place and not left Crete. You would have avoided all this damage and loss. 22 But take courage! None of you will lose your lives, even though the ship will go down. 23 For last night an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I serve stood beside me, 24 and he said, ‘Don’t be afraid, Paul, for you will surely stand trial before Caesar! What’s more, God in his goodness has granted safety to everyone sailing with you.’ 25 So take courage! For I believe God. It will be just as he said. 26 But we will be shipwrecked on an island.”
The Shipwreck
27 About midnight on the fourteenth night of the storm, as we were being driven across the Sea of Adria,[e] the sailors sensed land was near. 28 They dropped a weighted line and found that the water was 120 feet deep. But a little later they measured again and found it was only 90 feet deep.[f] 29 At this rate they were afraid we would soon be driven against the rocks along the shore, so they threw out four anchors from the back of the ship and prayed for daylight.
30 Then the sailors tried to abandon the ship; they lowered the lifeboat as though they were going to put out anchors from the front of the ship. 31 But Paul said to the commanding officer and the soldiers, “You will all die unless the sailors stay aboard.” 32 So the soldiers cut the ropes to the lifeboat and let it drift away.
33 Just as day was dawning, Paul urged everyone to eat. “You have been so worried that you haven’t touched food for two weeks,” he said. 34 “Please eat something now for your own good. For not a hair of your heads will perish.” 35 Then he took some bread, gave thanks to God before them all, and broke off a piece and ate it. 36 Then everyone was encouraged and began to eat—37 all 276 of us who were on board. 38 After eating, the crew lightened the ship further by throwing the cargo of wheat overboard.
39 When morning dawned, they didn’t recognize the coastline, but they saw a bay with a beach and wondered if they could get to shore by running the ship aground. 40 So they cut off the anchors and left them in the sea. Then they lowered the rudders, raised the foresail, and headed toward shore. 41 But they hit a shoal and ran the ship aground too soon. The bow of the ship stuck fast, while the stern was repeatedly smashed by the force of the waves and began to break apart.
42 The soldiers wanted to kill the prisoners to make sure they didn’t swim ashore and escape. 43 But the commanding officer wanted to spare Paul, so he didn’t let them carry out their plan. Then he ordered all who could swim to jump overboard first and make for land. 44 The others held onto planks or debris from the broken ship.[g] So everyone escaped safely to shore.
a. Acts 27:1 Greek centurion; similarly in 27:6, 11, 31, 43.
b. Acts 27:2 Asia was a Roman province in what is now western Turkey.
c. Acts 27:9 Greek because the fast was now already gone by. This fast was associated with the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur), which occurred in late September or early October.
d. Acts 27:16 Some manuscripts read Clauda.
e. Acts 27:27 The Sea of Adria includes the central portion of the Mediterranean.
f. Acts 27:28 Greek 20 fathoms . . . 15 fathoms [37 meters . . . 27 meters].
g. Acts 27:44 Or or were helped by members of the ship’s crew.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Lena's Discipleship Journalin' to Acts 26

I’ll start first by sifting through some of the parts of the passage today. As we remember, Saul was a scholar of the scriptures and he was a member of the Pharisees who were the strictest sect of religious scholars and counselors. He was strict in enforcing the ideals that man came up with concerning obedience’s and compliances to “God’s Words”. He was a part of a group of people who were greatly offending God in that they used God’s words for their own advancement and to set up their own kingdom on earth. Yet is was not God’s ideal they were really after, but their own man made, self serving, and self exalting organization of acceptable conduct. It was like they were using the scripture as a means to build a kingdom, but they were missing the purpose and point. They were their own lords, ungoverned by the very Spirit of Life who came to infuse the words they studied so intently. This part of the passage stood out to me today.
“‘Who are you, lord?’ I asked. Notice small “l” in lord. Saul did not know Jesus personally as Lord, Master, Leader and brother/friend. Saul was his own lord, in the league of other lords and masters of self. He was taken off of his high horse, but still was not recognizing God as Master of his life personally. Notice when the Lord replies, he states “IAM” Lord, “IAM” Jesus. Saul knew this IAM, and that THIS IAM is YHWH. He at least knew that in his head. It was about to become very personal.
We do the same, and should not completely fault or blame Saul/Paul for even when we hear the spirit infused word of life, and we live it out as we see it, and do what is right in our own eyes justifying o0urselves even in our own sins against God, we are the self-same “Pharisee” type. Have you ever heard something like this- “love your enemies and pray for those who despitefully use you”, or “love suffers long and is kind…”?Then after hearing THAT word, say to yourself, well, the Lord knows my situation and he doesn’t really mean that where I am concerned, I mean my enemy is against me continually and the lord (notice little “l”) knows my plight. I have an excuse (from God) because He understands.
There’s one words for that flesh that is fighting against God’s word being planted within - Pharisee.
“And the Lord replied, ‘I am Jesus,
He then says:
I obeyed that vision from heaven

Obedience is the response of those who do believe in His Lordship. Many believe in Him as Savior. The reason I say that Is; if He is Lord (THE I AM, YHWH) to me, it is evidenced in the fruit of my repentance and my personal obedience to God’s words to me.
Jesus said if you love Me, then show Me, by obeying Me.
In other words, if you call Me LORD (YHWH & I AM) then your actions will show others this is what you believe. You’ll look more and more like Me, and less and less like you, and be more and more fruitful in the characteristics of Christ.
This part of the passage sums up the requirements of each believer, especially those who name the name of Christ (i.e. – Christians)…

…all must repent of their sins and turn to God—and prove they have changed by the good things they do.

We are not speaking merely of good works, for one can do a good work for God and have a bad attitude, or a quick temper. Their word is like “doo-doo” before God if they “serve” Him that way.
Repentance is the change of heart and mind. There is no guile inside. I don’t put on an act on the outside. My actions outwardly are the fruit of what is going on inside of my new life. My outward actions that are true to what IS inside and they are proof that I am making Him Lord, rather than esteeming Him as lord (just another authority to comply with).
This next portion is so key to what we say, and how we say it, and with what motive we do extend ourselves boldly before the Lord and for His work.
Do we serve as a product of the fruit of our lives which is love? Or do we serve to look good with someone or God? Do we preach because we are obeying God, no matter the visible outcome, or do we have a hidden motive? Do we get up enough courage to obey God and then shrink back when it does not turn out as we thought it should?
If so, we are not motivated by love, we are living on a checks and balances system. We’re trying to earn something.
We must give even to our own hurt. We must extend ourselves, if we never receive praise or a pat on the back, or applause from anyone, even God! Do we believe what God’s words says about being powerful? Do we believe we are to be obedient to deliver it to people?
Paul knew he was standing where he was standing and was where he was, because God ordained it. Since he was where God set him, he knew God would do His work and have His way, as best it could be.
Most of our delivery of the word is merely to give an opportunity from God to the hearers. It is a knock on the door of their hearts. They stand before God for the response to the knock, we do not. God gave each of us free wills, and allots each of us the exercise of it. We cannot rule over others wills, but we can do our part before God.
Leave the invitation at the door in obedience to God and leave. Walk away unless the Lord says stay longer. Let the Holy Spirit to do the work!
I love how Paul says:

“Whether quickly or not, I pray to God that both you and everyone here in this audience might become the same as I am, except for these chains.”

The chains could be the religious thoughts and attitudes. It could also be what one is motivated by, or unbelief in the LORDSHIP of Christ, in my own life. Chains could be disobedience, which leads to a whole horde of curses gone awry. Chains could also be inability to see Him, living for ourselves and the guise of our own self- serving wills, yet thinking we are living for Him merely because we acknowledge Him.

Become the same as I am….what is that?
Saul turned into another man, was given a new name. (from Pharisee to “Christian”). He was a man brought down humbly to change his thinking. A man who acknowledges another as Lord, rather than an equal to himself as lords together. (Only God gives that position, man can never take it himself or give it to himself, it comes through a process of a submitted life to Christ and His ways). He found himself to be a man who would preach no matter what. No matter what. He was always sowing, always, at all times, as led by the Spirit of Christ; never expecting to receive anything, for he had already been given everything - inside of his new life in Christ! He was a new man motivated by Love, rather than challenged by scorekeeping! He had nowhere to go or get to, except wherever God needed Him to plant, water, and see increase.
Less of him and more of Christ, even to the death and especially to the death of self life.
Beaten, bruised, imprisoned, shipwrecked?
YES, to all or any of the above, because of Love.
The point is the message, before whoever’s ears it may stand before, and whatever it took to get to those ears of influence!

Lena' Posts Acts 26 Today's Daily Bread Reading

1 Then Agrippa said to Paul, “You may speak in your defense.”

So Paul, gesturing with his hand, started his defense: 2 “I am fortunate, King Agrippa, that you are the one hearing my defense today against all these accusations made by the Jewish leaders, 3 for I know you are an expert on all Jewish customs and controversies. Now please listen to me patiently!

4 “As the Jewish leaders are well aware, I was given a thorough Jewish training from my earliest childhood among my own people and in Jerusalem. 5 If they would admit it, they know that I have been a member of the Pharisees, the strictest sect of our religion. 6 Now I am on trial because of my hope in the fulfillment of God’s promise made to our ancestors. 7 In fact, that is why the twelve tribes of Israel zealously worship God night and day, and they share the same hope I have. Yet, Your Majesty, they accuse me for having this hope! 8 Why does it seem incredible to any of you that God can raise the dead?

9 “I used to believe that I ought to do everything I could to oppose the very name of Jesus the Nazarene.[a] 10 Indeed, I did just that in Jerusalem. Authorized by the leading priests, I caused many believers[b] there to be sent to prison. And I cast my vote against them when they were condemned to death. 11 Many times I had them punished in the synagogues to get them to curse Jesus.[c] I was so violently opposed to them that I even chased them down in foreign cities.

12 “One day I was on such a mission to Damascus, armed with the authority and commission of the leading priests. 13 About noon, Your Majesty, as I was on the road, a light from heaven brighter than the sun shone down on me and my companions. 14 We all fell down, and I heard a voice saying to me in Aramaic,[d] ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me? It is useless for you to fight against my will.[e]’

15 “‘Who are you, lord?’ I asked.

“And the Lord replied, ‘I am Jesus, the one you are persecuting. 16 Now get to your feet! For I have appeared to you to appoint you as my servant and witness. You are to tell the world what you have seen and what I will show you in the future. 17 And I will rescue you from both your own people and the Gentiles. Yes, I am sending you to the Gentiles 18 to open their eyes, so they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God. Then they will receive forgiveness for their sins and be given a place among God’s people, who are set apart by faith in me.’

19 “And so, King Agrippa, I obeyed that vision from heaven. 20 I preached first to those in Damascus, then in Jerusalem and throughout all Judea, and also to the Gentiles, that all must repent of their sins and turn to God—and prove they have changed by the good things they do. 21 Some Jews arrested me in the Temple for preaching this, and they tried to kill me. 22 But God has protected me right up to this present time so I can testify to everyone, from the least to the greatest. I teach nothing except what the prophets and Moses said would happen—23 that the Messiah would suffer and be the first to rise from the dead, and in this way announce God’s light to Jews and Gentiles alike.”

24 Suddenly, Festus shouted, “Paul, you are insane. Too much study has made you crazy!”

25 But Paul replied, “I am not insane, Most Excellent Festus. What I am saying is the sober truth. 26 And King Agrippa knows about these things. I speak boldly, for I am sure these events are all familiar to him, for they were not done in a corner! 27 King Agrippa, do you believe the prophets? I know you do—”

28 Agrippa interrupted him. “Do you think you can persuade me to become a Christian so quickly?”[f]

29 Paul replied, “Whether quickly or not, I pray to God that both you and everyone here in this audience might become the same as I am, except for these chains.”

30 Then the king, the governor, Bernice, and all the others stood and left. 31 As they went out, they talked it over and agreed, “This man hasn’t done anything to deserve death or imprisonment.”

32 And Agrippa said to Festus, “He could have been set free if he hadn’t appealed to Caesar.”


Acts 26:9 Or Jesus of Nazareth.
Acts 26:10 Greek many of God’s holy people.
Acts 26:11 Greek to blaspheme.
Acts 26:14 Or Hebrew.
Acts 26:14 Greek It is hard for you to kick against the oxgoads.
Acts 26:28 Or “A little more, and your arguments would make me a Christian.”

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Lena's Discipleship Journalin to Acts 25 (Short & Sweet!)

I was thinking of how many of us come into God’s kingdom as people who have needs or pains and are looking for answers and blessings and relief. We find the love of God so amazingly powerful and experience it firsthand, then we begin to grow up into that love and it becomes more defined to us than it was when we were in our infant stage of Christianity.
In infancy it is all about our own needs being met, about feeding and strengthening us. As we grow we grow up into responsibility, if we take on the responsibility, it soon becomes all about Him. Things do not become easier, but rather harder to walk out. The challenges are beyond us, but not beyond Him. We are in a walk of faith and trust and deep reliance on Him, in order to better serve and see His Divine will and plan played out with us playing a willing part in it.
Paul was definitely getting deeper. Have you ever heard scripture promises that say , “You will stand before kings”? Well Paul was fulfilling that prophecy, but it was not necessarily a glorious feat. Whenever you hear prophecies over you about being before great men, be careful to not think you’ll stand there as a regal subject. Paul stood there persecuted. It was his opportunity though. Notice before each leader who he was tried by, Paul repeated the message of the gospel of Christ!
He was told he’d be going into all the world and preach, we are also told that. Sometimes we glorify the thought, like we are gonna see so many saved, but Paul was there preaching and when we spoke the words of life and salvation he was not in a prayer meeting laying hands on people and seeing altar responses. He was preaching salvation alright and to leaders and kings, but he wasn’t seeing great responses to the message. The responses showed their way in the form of further persecutions and then going before trials of more leaders. God would be the one who would reap the seeds Paul was so faithful to plant. Our responsibility before God is to plant and water, no matter what the situation.
Wow, huh?

Lena Posts Acts 25 Today's Daily Bread Reading

Paul Appears before Festus
1 Three days after Festus arrived in Caesarea to take over his new responsibilities, he left for Jerusalem, 2 where the leading priests and other Jewish leaders met with him and made their accusations against Paul. 3 They asked Festus as a favor to transfer Paul to Jerusalem (planning to ambush and kill him on the way). 4 But Festus replied that Paul was at Caesarea and he himself would be returning there soon. 5 So he said, “Those of you in authority can return with me. If Paul has done anything wrong, you can make your accusations.”
6 About eight or ten days later Festus returned to Caesarea, and on the following day he took his seat in court and ordered that Paul be brought in. 7 When Paul arrived, the Jewish leaders from Jerusalem gathered around and made many serious accusations they couldn’t prove.

8 Paul denied the charges. “I am not guilty of any crime against the Jewish laws or the Temple or the Roman government,” he said.

9 Then Festus, wanting to please the Jews, asked him, “Are you willing to go to Jerusalem and stand trial before me there?”

10 But Paul replied, “No! This is the official Roman court, so I ought to be tried right here. You know very well I am not guilty of harming the Jews. 11 If I have done something worthy of death, I don’t refuse to die. But if I am innocent, no one has a right to turn me over to these men to kill me. I appeal to Caesar!”

12 Festus conferred with his advisers and then replied, “Very well! You have appealed to Caesar, and to Caesar you will go!”

13 A few days later King Agrippa arrived with his sister, Bernice,[a] to pay their respects to Festus. 14 During their stay of several days, Festus discussed Paul’s case with the king. “There is a prisoner here,” he told him, “whose case was left for me by Felix. 15 When I was in Jerusalem, the leading priests and Jewish elders pressed charges against him and asked me to condemn him. 16 I pointed out to them that Roman law does not convict people without a trial. They must be given an opportunity to confront their accusers and defend themselves.

17 “When his accusers came here for the trial, I didn’t delay. I called the case the very next day and ordered Paul brought in. 18 But the accusations made against him weren’t any of the crimes I expected. 19 Instead, it was something about their religion and a dead man named Jesus, who Paul insists is alive. 20 I was at a loss to know how to investigate these things, so I asked him whether he would be willing to stand trial on these charges in Jerusalem. 21 But Paul appealed to have his case decided by the emperor. So I ordered that he be held in custody until I could arrange to send him to Caesar.”

22 “I’d like to hear the man myself,” Agrippa said.

And Festus replied, “You will—tomorrow!”

Paul Speaks to Agrippa
23 So the next day Agrippa and Bernice arrived at the auditorium with great pomp, accompanied by military officers and prominent men of the city. Festus ordered that Paul be brought in. 24 Then Festus said, “King Agrippa and all who are here, this is the man whose death is demanded by all the Jews, both here and in Jerusalem. 25 But in my opinion he has done nothing deserving death. However, since he appealed his case to the emperor, I have decided to send him to Rome.
26 “But what shall I write the emperor? For there is no clear charge against him. So I have brought him before all of you, and especially you, King Agrippa, so that after we examine him, I might have something to write. 27 For it makes no sense to send a prisoner to the emperor without specifying the charges against him!”


Acts 25:13 Greek Agrippa the king and Bernice arrived.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Hey Chris! The Story of the Early Risin's & Lena's Journalin'

What are You doing up so early?
Everyone be aware, when you reply to the e-mail that is dropped in your box, for it'll be sent to the whole list of recipients. Don't know if you knew that.
My husband Lance leaves here at 5:20 a.m., and he gets up each morning at 4:30 a.m . So I get up with him.
He worked 2nd shift for 17 years and I was a night owl as he got home at 1 am, then we'd sleep in. I was always so tired and never got to devotion times. Of course I was up w/ kids back then too. Excuses, excuses.
Anyway 4 years ago when we started as cell leaders at our church, it was requested that we journal each day to our Pastorally prescribed Daily Bread readings, asking God to speak out of His word for the day, to us personally and to expound it to us, some would call that getting the "Daily Rhema" to the daily word.
Being I'd said I was "All in" where cell leading and our church vision are concerned, and a I've purposed to be a disciple, not of my own leading, but by the guide of willful submission on my part to what others may say to do. I purposed to take instructions from leaders and make a way to get them done.
I was struggling a LOT over it. I was grumbling and complaining about it.
Cassia (pronounced - Casha) was like 2, if even; and I was already busy with everything in life and at church. I tried to excuse myself, justify myself . Say things like, I donlt HAVE to Journal to BE a disciple or cell leader...etc.
The following month we were at TL Osborne's conference in town, that our church helped host. There were like 4 beautiful Jamaican ladies present who carried a pure spirit (if you were there you saw them). as I rushed by them one time, heading back to set up food again for the leaders, which we did after each service. I was mentally grumbling about how much I had to do, getting up at 6 am to get there, staying up till midnight to make sure all was ready for the next day...they asked me if I had a moment? - Ew BOY! I politely said, "sure, yes, I do", and stopped in front of them.
They asked if I was the lady w/ 7 children and could they pray for me? I agreed and bowed my head enjoying the rest of that moment. The lady who prayed started out saying, "Bless her Lawd...Oh Lawd, I just see her journalin' and journalin. Ew Lawd, I see not only 1 journel, but, yes Lawd, Yes Lawd, I see 7 journals! "
(At THAT, my time my moment of res !). I was like, God, YOU know I can't even get 1 done, let alone 7!!! She proceeded to go down a checklist of mental grumblings and concerns I'd had, hitting on every one.....I melted away to the food service place....
As I went home that night, I was like GOD - OK, HOW? I asked for awhile, this time really looking for a way rather than grumbling to excuse myself from it.
My husband had changed shifts at work and it took him about a month to get adjusted, but I was not adjusting at all. He'd go to bed at 9 without me, as I'd still stay up till midnight. I heard the Lord tell me to start getting up when he does and He'll help adjust me that way if I was willing to change.
I decided I was willing and I moved towards the change, and within a week it was over. My old life of sleeping in was over. 4:30 was the new time to arise and I had 2 hours right there before the kids got up. Viola', Journalin' time it was! In hardly any time at all, my inward time clock completely changed! God's supernatural empowering grace in obedience to His word to me, was all over me. I hardly need but 5-6 hours of sleep still. It is so weird and cool.
In the past , if I'd only had 5 hours of sleep, I'd need a nap over that, but not now. It is amazing. Some days I go to bed at 9, but we have teenagers!
The Lord brought me across Blogger and I began to publish the Journal and the Holy Spirit began to have me use it as a way to plant seeds for others to get further understanding of the word and to make an avenue to fellowship over the daily word with others.
As for 7 Journals? One day He showed me what that meant as I asked my two teenage girls to start to journal, and my adult daughter was also journalin' to her daily bread readings, then our teenage son was asked to journal in his discipleship class.
Some of the girls in my cell group also decided's called reproduction and multiplication.
It wasn't just me posting 700 + journal posts online and others on my computer before finding Blogger. It was others who were picking up the discipleship vision and decided to follow me, as I follow Christ. WOW!
Much Love to you All!

Lena's Discipleship Journalin to Acts 24

Who is your judge? Who do you account before? Who do you stand before on things you say or do?
Most Christian believers say it is God. That is true in the end, but He’s set up governors now to help us pre-account to get some of the math out of the way.
Many believers do not like to give accounts to men of who they really are, especially when it comes to discipline and accountability.
There is such independence to our culture, with a self righteous attitude of, “No one tells me what to do, but God”.
The thing is, God has been speaking in very unlikely places. He’s been speaking through human beings to lead and guide us into all truth. The Holy Spirit has taken us places and set us up to hear God the Father’s voice at home, at work, at church, and out in our own community.
There is a scripture that says, the word of God is near us. It is in our mouth and in our hearts. Don’t say do I need to climb a mountain to find it, or swim a channel, or dig a very deep pit (working so hard to hear it), for it is right here, right where you are already at. He is speaking to us through who is around us. (That was definitely a paraphrase to help open our understanding.)
God is most interested in heart change. More than any good action anyone could take for Him or to work His kingdom, He wants to see spiritual fruits growing on our heart tree.
He comes up to the Fig Tree of our lives looking to see something fruitful on that tree. Is it there yet? It should be. How long have we said we are following Him or love Him? Do we give ourselves over to character development? See THAT is what is most important to God.
Why do I do what I do, respond as I respond. Hear people how I do? It has to do with His character development inside of my secret part, my heart.
Many times Christians will excuse their actions saying, well God sees my heart and man is judging me wrongly because he is looking outwardly and God will judge me by what I intended inwardly.
Man looks at what he sees outwardly, because he cannot see the heart, but GOD knows our hearts and no matter what we say, he knows what is working on the inside. Is His character being worked inside? He knows if I want to look good outwardly and I say something sweet, but my words are not motivated by love. He knows what made whatever words come out of me, for he sees what is inside in abundance where that word flow comes from. Yes man only sees what he sees, but what is it man is seeing come out of you? If it is filthy outwardly, what does it look like inwardly?
Let’s not go too easy on ourselves, excusing ourselves for all kinds of unrighteous thinking and behaviors. We must come under discipline; we must submit our character development to THE accountable rule for change.
It would be far better to be judged now By scrutinizing men than to stand before a righteous Holy God without any excuse at all for not submitting ourselves here.
Men and women who willingly submit themselves even to unfair treatment here, understand there is a far more Righteous Judge who they will encounter later on. They use willful obedient submission as an exercise, and a discipline now.
There is always a way that seems right to a man, an easier way to do this work, but anyway around God’s way, as defined by men for themselves will lead them to a life of pain, sorrow, grief, and death.
BUT, if we confess our sins He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
Whatever the circumstance, whatever the situation; (Look at Paul) one can be developed if they submit themselves to it as though it is God Himself training us for something else.
It is those who kick against the rules that stay in the prisons of self inflicted guide for as long as it takes to silence the flesh and become led by God’s Spirit.
The Holy Spirit is oh so gentle. He speaks once, He is God. When He speaks through whatever avenue He so chooses, He is looking for a reciprocal response. If we excuse ourselves form even His simplest words, we are going our own way. How can one be blessed by God, when he told God he was going his own way, with a cordial “thank you, see you, goodbye”?
Practicing and exercising obedience in the smallest matters, is the way to become an obedient son of God, who lives to do His word and will.
Think about it, simple obedience. You are at church, the pastor says, “Lets’ all stand”. You excuse yourself from standing. You don’t need to, he doesn’t mean everyone has to. It’s just an invitation for whoever wants to do it. I don’t particularly want to do it, and anyway, God knows my heart and I’m standing on the inside! Next time the pastor makes the “invitation” a little clearer. He says, “Let’s all stand for the sake of unity”. You excused yourself the first time, believing that scripture that says man looks on the outside to judge, but God sees my heart! So you sit again, because the pastor doesn’t really mean all of us, he again just means, those of us who really would like to!
We wonder later on in another situation we are in why we cannot hear God’s voice. We ask, seek, knock, when we want to, and we don’t hear anything at all. We ask others to help us hear and they do hear something. When they tell us we are so deceived by not practicing obedience in the simple stuff) That we regard their words as mere suggestions too and we have made no plans to ever do them, at all. They are options to us, and man is looking at us outwardly, but God knows what’s going on, on the inside, and since He is a gentleman, He is silent where we are concerned. We don’t listen to anyone; we want a conk over the head, a falling planet to land in our yard, or thunder to clang in our ears. We want it our way, and God is gracious enough to give us over to our own way. (James 1 says a man is deceived if he hears and will not do what he heard)
Would it have hurt you to have stood in church every time the pastor or leaders asked you to? Was God trying to beat you up? Remember God sees the heart, and the heart even deceives us personally, who can know it? We thought we were excused. God saw something like pride or rebellion rooted, and its fruit was there in a bud stage. Now it’s full bloom and the person is miserable.
The death-walk is a self centered, self serving misery walk.
Many feel confused and wonder why such misery is happening, I mean, don’t they love God, doesn’t God love them? Jesus said, if you love Me, you’ll keep my words, then at the point of obediently keeping My words the way I see it, then you’ll be my disciples and you’ll be sensitive enough to know truth intimately and that intimate exercised in obedience truth will set you free. This is where freedom lies, in obedience. There is no freedom kept outside of it. We may be relieved for a moment, but our freedom must be maintained obediently.
God does love us all. He loves us into obedient actions that we may be blessed.
Love is not ever earned. Blessings are released through obedience! As we reciprocate, we are blessed. He’s not looking for or at good intentions, He‘s looking for obedient action and lasting fruit. Paul had said that God was using his circumstances to try Him, Perfect His faith, and make it sure.
What are your circumstances doing for you today?
Search me oh God and know my heart, try me and know my thoughts, see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me (and watch me follow even in the simple things obediently) in THE way everlasting! (This is a repentant prayer with opportunity for following action. It says, I’ll stop excusing myself to do it my own way, which I’ve dishonored You by doing it that way in the past, but I’ll do what You say, as You say it and I’ll purposely not disregard whoever You use to say it. Ya know, He could even use unsaved people! Remember Baalam’s donkey?)

Lena Posts Acts 24 Today

Acts 24
Paul Appears before Felix
1 Five days later Ananias, the high priest, arrived with some of the Jewish elders and the lawyer[a] Tertullus, to present their case against Paul to the governor. 2 When Paul was called in, Tertullus presented the charges against Paul in the following address to the governor:
“Your Excellency, you have provided a long period of peace for us Jews and with foresight have enacted reforms for us. 3 For all of this we are very grateful to you. 4 But I don’t want to bore you, so please give me your attention for only a moment. 5 We have found this man to be a troublemaker who is constantly stirring up riots among the Jews all over the world. He is a ringleader of the cult known as the Nazarenes. 6 Furthermore, he was trying to desecrate the Temple when we arrested him.[b] 8 You can find out the truth of our accusations by examining him yourself.” 9 Then the other Jews chimed in, declaring that everything Tertullus said was true.

10 The governor then motioned for Paul to speak. Paul said, “I know, sir, that you have been a judge of Jewish affairs for many years, so I gladly present my defense before you. 11 You can quickly discover that I arrived in Jerusalem no more than twelve days ago to worship at the Temple. 12 My accusers never found me arguing with anyone in the Temple, nor stirring up a riot in any synagogue or on the streets of the city. 13 These men cannot prove the things they accuse me of doing.

14 “But I admit that I follow the Way, which they call a cult. I worship the God of our ancestors, and I firmly believe the Jewish law and everything written in the prophets. 15 I have the same hope in God that these men have, that he will raise both the righteous and the unrighteous. 16 Because of this, I always try to maintain a clear conscience before God and all people.

17 “After several years away, I returned to Jerusalem with money to aid my people and to offer sacrifices to God. 18 My accusers saw me in the Temple as I was completing a purification ceremony. There was no crowd around me and no rioting. 19 But some Jews from the province of Asia were there—and they ought to be here to bring charges if they have anything against me! 20 Ask these men here what crime the Jewish high council[c] found me guilty of, 21 except for the one time I shouted out, ‘I am on trial before you today because I believe in the resurrection of the dead!’”

22 At that point Felix, who was quite familiar with the Way, adjourned the hearing and said, “Wait until Lysias, the garrison commander, arrives. Then I will decide the case.” 23 He ordered an officer[d] to keep Paul in custody but to give him some freedom and allow his friends to visit him and take care of his needs.

24 A few days later Felix came back with his wife, Drusilla, who was Jewish. Sending for Paul, they listened as he told them about faith in Christ Jesus. 25 As he reasoned with them about righteousness and self-control and the coming day of judgment, Felix became frightened. “Go away for now,” he replied. “When it is more convenient, I’ll call for you again.” 26 He also hoped that Paul would bribe him, so he sent for him quite often and talked with him.

27 After two years went by in this way, Felix was succeeded by Porcius Festus. And because Felix wanted to gain favor with the Jewish people, he left Paul in prison.


Acts 24:1 Greek some elders and an orator.
Acts 24:6 Some manuscripts add an expanded conclusion to verse 6, all of verse 7, and an additional phrase in verse 8: We would have judged him by our law, 7but Lysias, the commander of the garrison, came and violently took him away from us, 8commanding his accusers to come before you.
Acts 24:20 Greek Sanhedrin.
Acts 24:23 Greek a centurion.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Lena's Discipleship Journalin for Today to Acts 23

Paul preached, “The Scriptures say, ‘You must not speak evil of any of your rulers.’”
Why do you think it says that?
Because the opportunities will arise and it will be overwhelmingly difficult to not speak that way unless convicted to obey the word of God with a whole heart. Leaders are set by God over us. One may think if they are unfair that they have not been set there by God, but by self. That is incorrect thinking.
It also says that no one is in authority except by God placing them there. As easily as they were placed there they can be taken out of their positions. The positions are given by God to bring them to a place of further seeking of Him, for they are responsible to God for those of us underneath them. They stand in a place of extreme responsibility before God. They are accountable to God for how they handle matters and people, while we who are under them are only responsible for who and what is under us. The higher the level of command the greater the accountability for souls that person has before God.
The best response we should have when people in authority seem too bossy, unfair, even cruel, is to pray for their souls. Pray that when they have to give account to God for us, they can do that with no fear or dread of righteous judgment and burn before God’s very presence. No one would wish an eternal punishment like hell’s judgment fire on even their worst enemy!
Leaders of all kinds are in places of authority to be a test of our true faith in God and trust and reliance on Him to move mountains and bring change. It is a test of how much we really will pray, forgive and bless, all of these things are kingdom characteristics which must be proven true in us. Without a squeeze, no one, not even we ourselves, will know what would REALLY come out!
Another deal is maturity on the follower’s part. The leader does know more and is leading us. We could learn something from them if we stop being self centered and follow after them. My perception of the way they lead me is directly linked to my maturity level. We could have the same leader saying the same thing and one follower see their guidance as lame, foolish, and petty, while another follower sees it as much needed guidance. The difference was not in the leader, but in the perspective of the follower.
We need change, in the area where we give support to our leaders, making them look good whether they deserve it, earn it, or not. Submission means we make someone else look good because we believe as we honor men that He put in positions of authority, we honor God Himself. We understand, that we, as imperfect humans, may also lead others one day and we believe the principle of sowing and reaping, where God is not mocked, we will reap what we sow.
It just may be that the unfair leader usurped his own authority over a leader he was under and he’s being challenged in reaping what he sowed. We really need to pray for him to change his perspective, heal his wounds inflicted by pride, and grow in Christ.
Ever hear someone boast of being more capable, and able to do the “job” better? Then they get to, and as they do they see much clearer how it is to lead and what it takes to lead well.
Many, many things God gives leaders to do to prepare followers is not desirable, nor easy, but this is how one is trained as a soldier in God’s army. Even if one does not like what’s being done in training they can submit to it for the greater good.
Boot Camp Time, God is desirous of an army! A mighty Army of Godly men and women who know how to get and stay under authority as unto God, and not think that they are just under mere men. They see men as God appointed representatives, and so can follow them as (the submitted ones) follow Christ. They give prayer support, and blessing not cursing. They lend a hand to honor and will not allow the words of an immature heart to spread wildfires to other immature ones.

Lena Posts TRC's Daily Bread for Today Acts 23

1 Gazing intently at the high council,[a] Paul began: “Brothers, I have always lived before God with a clear conscience!”

2 Instantly Ananias the high priest commanded those close to Paul to slap him on the mouth. 3 But Paul said to him, “God will slap you, you corrupt hypocrite![b] What kind of judge are you to break the law yourself by ordering me struck like that?”

4 Those standing near Paul said to him, “Do you dare to insult God’s high priest?”

5 “I’m sorry, brothers. I didn’t realize he was the high priest,” Paul replied, “for the Scriptures say, ‘You must not speak evil of any of your rulers.’[c]”

6 Paul realized that some members of the high council were Sadducees and some were Pharisees, so he shouted, “Brothers, I am a Pharisee, as were my ancestors! And I am on trial because my hope is in the resurrection of the dead!”

7 This divided the council—the Pharisees against the Sadducees—8 for the Sadducees say there is no resurrection or angels or spirits, but the Pharisees believe in all of these. 9 So there was a great uproar. Some of the teachers of religious law who were Pharisees jumped up and began to argue forcefully. “We see nothing wrong with him,” they shouted. “Perhaps a spirit or an angel spoke to him.” 10 As the conflict grew more violent, the commander was afraid they would tear Paul apart. So he ordered his soldiers to go and rescue him by force and take him back to the fortress.

11 That night the Lord appeared to Paul and said, “Be encouraged, Paul. Just as you have been a witness to me here in Jerusalem, you must preach the Good News in Rome as well.”

The Plan to Kill Paul
12 The next morning a group of Jews[d] got together and bound themselves with an oath not to eat or drink until they had killed Paul. 13 There were more than forty of them in the conspiracy. 14 They went to the leading priests and elders and told them, “We have bound ourselves with an oath to eat nothing until we have killed Paul. 15 So you and the high council should ask the commander to bring Paul back to the council again. Pretend you want to examine his case more fully. We will kill him on the way.”
16 But Paul’s nephew—his sister’s son—heard of their plan and went to the fortress and told Paul. 17 Paul called for one of the Roman officers[e] and said, “Take this young man to the commander. He has something important to tell him.”

18 So the officer did, explaining, “Paul, the prisoner, called me over and asked me to bring this young man to you because he has something to tell you.”

19 The commander took his hand, led him aside, and asked, “What is it you want to tell me?”

20 Paul’s nephew told him, “Some Jews are going to ask you to bring Paul before the high council tomorrow, pretending they want to get some more information. 21 But don’t do it! There are more than forty men hiding along the way ready to ambush him. They have vowed not to eat or drink anything until they have killed him. They are ready now, just waiting for your consent.”

22 “Don’t let anyone know you told me this,” the commander warned the young man.

Paul Is Sent to Caesarea
23 Then the commander called two of his officers and ordered, “Get 200 soldiers ready to leave for Caesarea at nine o’clock tonight. Also take 200 spearmen and 70 mounted troops. 24 Provide horses for Paul to ride, and get him safely to Governor Felix.” 25 Then he wrote this letter to the governor:
26 “From Claudius Lysias, to his Excellency, Governor Felix: Greetings!
27 “This man was seized by some Jews, and they were about to kill him when I arrived with the troops. When I learned that he was a Roman citizen, I removed him to safety. 28 Then I took him to their high council to try to learn the basis of the accusations against him. 29 I soon discovered the charge was something regarding their religious law—certainly nothing worthy of imprisonment or death. 30 But when I was informed of a plot to kill him, I immediately sent him on to you. I have told his accusers to bring their charges before you.”

31 So that night, as ordered, the soldiers took Paul as far as Antipatris. 32 They returned to the fortress the next morning, while the mounted troops took him on to Caesarea. 33 When they arrived in Caesarea, they presented Paul and the letter to Governor Felix. 34 He read it and then asked Paul what province he was from. “Cilicia,” Paul answered.

35 “I will hear your case myself when your accusers arrive,” the governor told him. Then the governor ordered him kept in the prison at Herod’s headquarters.[f]


Acts 23:1 Greek Sanhedrin; also in 23:6, 15, 20, 28.
Acts 23:3 Greek you whitewashed wall.
Acts 23:5 Exod 22:28.
Acts 23:12 Greek the Jews.
Acts 23:17 Greek centurions; also in 23:23.
Acts 23:35 Greek Herod’s Praetorium.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Lena's Discipleship Journalin' to Acts 22 Today

This should be the cry of every person, to live a life honorable to God. Yet there is coming a day of reckoning. The Day of the Lord is close, it is at hand. God will have His way, whether we participate or not.
Many times in all of our pursuit of God, we pursue Him how we want to and in the measure of how much we have time for. We’ve sort of been telling God, “Hey, come on, take what you can get, just accept what I choose to give”. It’s funny, He does, for a time, but there is a day, He’ll just have His way and those who chose their own way will miss out. That day it will be clear who is all in for Him and who is all out for themselves.
This day had come upon religious Paul. You do understand that Paul (Saul) was a religious man, right? He was seeking God, His way. The way he’d been taught to. He really, really thought what he was doing was right before God! So do we!
The Holy Spirit is giving us grace in our day right now, to wake up, take off the cloaks of religious bondage by following an excuse laden, man made gospel, and to turn from working our own righteousness by works to turn into a personal obedient love relationship with Him.
God placed each of us on earth for the furtherance of His work. He wants it done a certain way. He has accepted the amounts we were willing to give Him, but He’s been waiting for the day when we’d choose growth and do it His way, no matter what that entails.
There is a way that seems right to men, but that way only leads to death (of God’s true purpose being fulfilled through them).
Do we regularly ask God what He wants us to do for Him today? Or do we just wake up with a religious plan to fulfill in order to fill our Godly scoreboards?
What about what He’s already asked of you through pastoral leadership and the prompting of the Holy Spirit? If we ignore those small words, we won’t hear the will when it’s read to us.
This past Sunday at church, our pastor offered an invitation to receive the Holy Spirit. This was the 3rd Sunday in a row he’s offered help to anyone who would receive Him. He told us that the Lord told Him that He wants to fill us all!
There was one girl who stood in the fear of God, believing that that was God’s word on her matter, and rather than taking it as a good suggestion that she has the prerogative to take or leave, she stood there before God, saying, “I have to receive Him or I can’t leave here!” Guess what? She received Him!
There are always reasons we do not see, that God knows for us and the direction He gives us are to prepare us ahead of time. When we do not do what He says, in as serious an acknowledgement as this young girl, we’ll find tragedy and pain later on, with a great amount of regret.
We live by faith, not by sight.
Our Faith pleases God! This is the only thing we do that pleases God! All our good works are nothing without having faith in God displayed in action by doing the small things He says to do quickly.
We are never exempted from obeying His word. Never.
If He says love, but a person is unlovely and we want an excuse, we can make one or take one, but He didn’t give it. We did what we thought was right in our own eyes instead of believing in faith for the strength and the ability to go ahead and love the unlovely.
If our pastor asks us to come together, everyone come on a Wednesday night to take communion, and we decide to stay at home and take communion, thinking to ourselves that it is the same, we are deceived. We’ve done it our own way, and we’ve disobeyed and dishonored the living voice of God that He’s set up in our lives in a tangible form, to test our faith level. Do we have enough faith to do words men of God give us? What about donkeys? Do we have enough faith to believe even the words of “donkey’s”? (What we consider stubborn mules, who we think are rebellious ones.)
Even the enemy knows how much power we carry in how much we obey. Obedience is a mighty weapon against him. He hates it when Christians obey God and especially people. He loves when Christians live independent of God’s appointed rule and do their own thing and justify their own actions, etc. He has victory there and no problems handling that persons life, they lay willingly play right in to his hands.
God’s and our enemy (if we are God’s ) likes for us to place ourselves above the laws of the land and consider ourselves too high to listen to and obey mere humans. That’s his characteristic personality. That is exactly what he did in heaven. He exalted his own opinion. He raised his own desire before God’s. He placed himself above the laws of God, and he was brought down quicker than you can say, “Jack Robinson”!
WHY would we think it would be any different for us???
I wonder, how much we are willing to suffer for the gospel message? How big is our longsuffering, enduring gage?
The biggest suffering some us will ever experience is the suffering of our own souls. The battle within, of our own rights, and being free to live our own ways.
We struggle with others leading us. We think we know the way fine ourselves. The Bible says we think we know the way, but when we refuse to follow Him, we fall into a pit! Are we willing to extend our souls to grow up and spread the good news? Can we willingly submit to the direction and decisions others make for us? Do we trust and rely on God that much? Can we put any faith in that at all?
I mean those who lead us will be humans, imperfect humans who are walking like we walk. I mean what if they might decide to go their own way and if we follow them? We too could go down into a pit!
This is true, but as we follow others, we demonstrate we are following Christ. We are demonstrating our faith in the impossible and in a God who is far greater than ever a circumstance that comes our way. We are proving our love for Him and for His people no matter what! I mean is God great enough to rescue us out of a pit, even of our own digging? If we never dug it, our leader may not have one to fall into!
That takes faith, in God!
Ahh, new concept, faith in God!
Isn’t that what we are, is faithful to God and His word?

Lena Posts TRC's Daily Bread Reading for Today Acts 22

Acts 22
“Brothers and esteemed fathers,” Paul said, “listen to me as I offer my defense.” 2 When they heard him speaking in their own language,[a] the silence was even greater.

3 Then Paul said, “I am a Jew, born in Tarsus, a city in Cilicia, and I was brought up and educated here in Jerusalem under Gamaliel. As his student, I was carefully trained in our Jewish laws and customs. I became very zealous to honor God in everything I did, just like all of you today. 4 And I persecuted the followers of the Way, hounding some to death, arresting both men and women and throwing them in prison. 5 The high priest and the whole council of elders can testify that this is so. For I received letters from them to our Jewish brothers in Damascus, authorizing me to bring the Christians from there to Jerusalem, in chains, to be punished.

6 “As I was on the road, approaching Damascus about noon, a very bright light from heaven suddenly shone down around me. 7 I fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to me, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?’

8 “‘Who are you, lord?’ I asked.

“And the voice replied, ‘I am Jesus the Nazarene,[b] the one you are persecuting.’ 9 The people with me saw the light but didn’t understand the voice speaking to me.

10 “I asked, ‘What should I do, Lord?’

“And the Lord told me, ‘Get up and go into Damascus, and there you will be told everything you are to do.’

11 “I was blinded by the intense light and had to be led by the hand to Damascus by my companions. 12 A man named Ananias lived there. He was a godly man, deeply devoted to the law, and well regarded by all the Jews of Damascus. 13 He came and stood beside me and said, ‘Brother Saul, regain your sight.’ And that very moment I could see him!

14 “Then he told me, ‘The God of our ancestors has chosen you to know his will and to see the Righteous One and hear him speak. 15 For you are to be his witness, telling everyone what you have seen and heard. 16 What are you waiting for? Get up and be baptized. Have your sins washed away by calling on the name of the Lord.’

17 “After I returned to Jerusalem, I was praying in the Temple and fell into a trance. 18 I saw a vision of Jesus[c] saying to me, ‘Hurry! Leave Jerusalem, for the people here won’t accept your testimony about me.’

19 “‘But Lord,’ I argued, ‘they certainly know that in every synagogue I imprisoned and beat those who believed in you. 20 And I was in complete agreement when your witness Stephen was killed. I stood by and kept the coats they took off when they stoned him.’

21 “But the Lord said to me, ‘Go, for I will send you far away to the Gentiles!’”

22 The crowd listened until Paul said that word. Then they all began to shout, “Away with such a fellow! He isn’t fit to live!” 23 They yelled, threw off their coats, and tossed handfuls of dust into the air.

Paul Reveals His Roman Citizenship
24 The commander brought Paul inside and ordered him lashed with whips to make him confess his crime. He wanted to find out why the crowd had become so furious. 25 When they tied Paul down to lash him, Paul said to the officer[d] standing there, “Is it legal for you to whip a Roman citizen who hasn’t even been tried?”
26 When the officer heard this, he went to the commander and asked, “What are you doing? This man is a Roman citizen!”

27 So the commander went over and asked Paul, “Tell me, are you a Roman citizen?”

“Yes, I certainly am,” Paul replied.

28 “I am, too,” the commander muttered, “and it cost me plenty!”

Paul answered, “But I am a citizen by birth!”

29 The soldiers who were about to interrogate Paul quickly withdrew when they heard he was a Roman citizen, and the commander was frightened because he had ordered him bound and whipped.

Paul before the High Council
30 The next day the commander ordered the leading priests into session with the Jewish high council.[e] He wanted to find out what the trouble was all about, so he released Paul to have him stand before them.


Acts 22:2 Greek in Aramaic, or in Hebrew.
Acts 22:8 Or Jesus of Nazareth.
Acts 22:18 Greek him.
Acts 22:25 Greek the centurion; also in 22:26.
Acts 22:30 Greek Sanhedrin.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Lena's Discipleship Journalin' for Today to Acts 21

What! Are we willing to do for the work of the Lord in the earth? Change? Take hurt and pain and suffering upon us? Have our lives rearranged by others?
WHO! Are we willing to become, for the kingdom of God to be brought to earth through us? Are we really willing to put into practice what it takes to have a character change? Are we willing to lay down our own self life and die to that, to decrease all I want and wanted to be, for what He desires to make me?
Ya know His purpose for all flesh is that it may give its life for others. His purpose for each believer is that they’d be changed into His image and likeness, so much that when others look at the life changes they’d be astounded and see you new, like a dead man risen up to new life!
If your family, co-workers, friends and community know the almighty you, there is a problem you need to take up with your Father! I can guarantee you, you are in the way.
I like to do it this way. We do it this way or that way. I like this, I love that. I want this. I need that. He has need of thee to put all of THAT aside and bury it forever as though it is no longer your plight.
When Paul said, “I am ready to die for this kingdom”, he had grown up into the measure of the fullness of the stature of Christ! It was no longer Saul alive in full bloom. It was Paul, a changed man!
Has the Lord ever said something to you like, “Ya know you don’t HAVE to go to church today, We can just stay home and relax together and I can speak with you here, for you hear My voice fine?” If you’ve ever heard anything like that, you can go with it or you can do more than that.
Sometimes God wants to see what we will do. We never have to do anything with God, but as our love grows deeper and calls us up to a greater understanding of its depth and height and breadth, we can dive in, or soar, or sail with it and in it.
Paul heard he should not go to Jerusalem, because there’d be suffering. So why did he go? Love is the only reason. He was being tested on his love level. This was not disobedience; this was the extending of His soul. His trip was not about the avoiding of suffering and neither is our Christian walk and journey about that. God had already told Him he would suffer greatly for the kingdom of God sake. He knew that and also knew in order to truly follow Christ He’d have to be apart of that picture and plan. It would be the test of his faith and faithfulness.
Both God and our enemy want to see if we are wiling to be a part of whatever it takes to go all the way. Are we all in, or just some?
Paul rose up, and went to Jerusalem. He rose up in spirit and power. The power of love would have to be so great and fresh within him to go up there. The Spirit of God must rise up in Him and conquer over fear, pain, injury, and even death.
Do you realize a person can be injured, beaten, tortured, yet not be “harmed”? Because as Jesus did, they give their lives, even to unfair punishments. Paul was a great example of this, yet he says, I won the prize through it all. I’ve kept my faith in God! Love does that.
I find it very interesting that when the Jews took a vow it was not a secret matter of the heart, it was an outwardly worn flashing light. They shave their heads, they went to the House of the Lord and paid to have their heads shaven.
Vows cost, they cost whatever it takes to make sure you fulfill them on your end. They are not a contract, they are evidences of a changed life! If not fulfilled, curses come, If lived out , blessings are unleashed. They did a public display so everyone could help them stay on track though willing accountability. Any person who saw their shaved heads could say, what did you vow, and are you living it out?
Every vow or covenant promise will be tested. If not tested, not true. Each of us have opportunity to make or break our vows. We all came into covenant with God when we got born again. I know we thought it was a good fix that would help us be relieved from whatever pain we were going through at the time, but when we made promises to God through our pain and suffering, we promised Him our lives and He expects us to fulfill those promises. If we don’t, curses come. If we do, blessing flows.
We always want to know why things don’t go just so for us. What have we done to change our lives and our lifestyles and our thinking since we’ve made our vows to God? Are we dead to self seeking life yet? Are we alive to the fulfillment of the will of God in the earth, or do we still do our own thing? Have we committed to a church body, or a study group, yet we only show up when it is convenient for us or we have decided it’ll work? This is why “Things” are not working out thus and so!”
Notice where the persecution and suffering in Paul’s life came from. The same bunch Jesus suffered and died for. Why would we think it would be a different bunch for us. The church, the very place we are sent to for nourishment, the place we call “home”, this is where the suffering happens. There is a lot of live flesh there where it should be dead. Opinions do fly and as long as there is a crod gathered like that, there is all sorts of evil and curses awry. Paul’s message was true, sent to the right place. It was just the ears were clogged with a compacted amount of flesh life and could not hear the truth offered.
We always think the church will receive the message of living a crucified life well, but those who are full of themselves despise this message. They may think, I shouldn’t have to die, He already died for me.
I just read that He did, and that the gates of hell were barred by the power of His death and resurrection. That took care of the allotment of the offer that can now be given me, of the one-sided covenant with God. Now the way my side become activated is, I die- daily, to my self life! If I do not, I do not have an active covenant with God!
The church may think you a foreigner, truly, a sore thumb in the crowd, but God will have His way through our obedience, even the daily death of me on the cross. I die daily, to my own will, says Paul. What are you saying, with the actions of your life?

Lena Posts TRC's Daily Bread - Acts 21, for Today

Paul's Journey to Jerusalem

1After saying farewell to the Ephesian elders, we sailed straight to the island of Cos. The next day we reached Rhodes and then went to Patara. 2There we boarded a ship sailing for the Syrian province of Phoenicia. 3We sighted the island of Cyprus, passed it on our left, and landed at the harbor of Tyre, in Syria, where the ship was to unload. 4We went ashore, found the local believers, F112 and stayed with them a week. These disciples prophesied through the Holy Spirit that Paul should not go on to Jerusalem. 5When we returned to the ship at the end of the week, the entire congregation, including wives and children, came down to the shore with us. There we knelt, prayed, 6and said our farewells. Then we went aboard, and they returned home.

7The next stop after leaving Tyre was Ptolemais, where we greeted the brothers and sisters F113 but stayed only one day. 8Then we went on to Caesarea and stayed at the home of Philip the Evangelist, one of the seven men who had been chosen to distribute food. 9He had four unmarried daughters who had the gift of prophecy.

10During our stay of several days, a man named Agabus, who also had the gift of prophecy, arrived from Judea. 11When he visited us, he took Paul's belt and bound his own feet and hands with it. Then he said, "The Holy Spirit declares, 'So shall the owner of this belt be bound by the Jewish leaders in Jerusalem and turned over to the Romans.'" 12When we heard this, we who were traveling with him, as well as the local believers, begged Paul not to go on to Jerusalem.

13But he said, "Why all this weeping? You are breaking my heart! For I am ready not only to be jailed at Jerusalem but also to die for the sake of the Lord Jesus." 14When it was clear that we couldn't persuade him, we gave up and said, "The will of the Lord be done."

Paul Arrives at Jerusalem

15Shortly afterward we packed our things and left for Jerusalem. 16Some believers from Caesarea accompanied us, and they took us to the home of Mnason, a man originally from Cyprus and one of the early disciples. 17All the brothers and sisters in Jerusalem welcomed us cordially.

18The next day Paul went in with us to meet with James, and all the elders of the Jerusalem church were present. 19After greetings were exchanged, Paul gave a detailed account of the things God had accomplished among the Gentiles through his ministry.

20After hearing this, they praised God. But then they said, "You know, dear brother, how many thousands of Jews have also believed, and they all take the law of Moses very seriously. 21Our Jewish Christians here at Jerusalem have been told that you are teaching all the Jews living in the Gentile world to turn their backs on the laws of Moses. They say that you teach people not to circumcise their children or follow other Jewish customs. 22Now what can be done? For they will certainly hear that you have come.

23"Here's our suggestion. We have four men here who have taken a vow and are preparing to shave their heads. 24Go with them to the Temple and join them in the purification ceremony, and pay for them to have their heads shaved. Then everyone will know that the rumors are all false and that you yourself observe the Jewish laws.

25"As for the Gentile Christians, all we ask of them is what we already told them in a letter: They should not eat food offered to idols, nor consume blood, nor eat meat from strangled animals, and they should stay away from all sexual immorality."

Paul Is Arrested

26So Paul agreed to their request, and the next day he went through the purification ritual with the men and went to the Temple. Then he publicly announced the date when their vows would end and sacrifices would be offered for each of them.

27The seven days were almost ended when some Jews from the province of Asia saw Paul in the Temple and roused a mob against him. They grabbed him, 28yelling, "Men of Israel! Help! This is the man who teaches against our people and tells everybody to disobey the Jewish laws. He speaks against the Temple—and he even defiles it by bringing Gentiles in!" 29(For earlier that day they had seen him in the city with Trophimus, a Gentile from Ephesus, F114 and they assumed Paul had taken him into the Temple.)

30The whole population of the city was rocked by these accusations, and a great riot followed. Paul was dragged out of the Temple, and immediately the gates were closed behind him. 31As they were trying to kill him, word reached the commander of the Roman regiment that all Jerusalem was in an uproar. 32He immediately called out his soldiers and officers and ran down among the crowd. When the mob saw the commander and the troops coming, they stopped beating Paul. 33The commander arrested him and ordered him bound with two chains. Then he asked the crowd who he was and what he had done. 34Some shouted one thing and some another. He couldn't find out the truth in all the uproar and confusion, so he ordered Paul to be taken to the fortress. 35As they reached the stairs, the mob grew so violent the soldiers had to lift Paul to their shoulders to protect him. 36And the crowd followed behind shouting, "Kill him, kill him!"

Paul Speaks to the Crowd

37As Paul was about to be taken inside, he said to the commander, "May I have a word with you?" "Do you know Greek?" the commander asked, surprised. 38"Aren't you the Egyptian who led a rebellion some time ago and took four thousand members of the Assassins out into the desert?"

39"No," Paul replied, "I am a Jew from Tarsus in Cilicia, which is an important city. Please, let me talk to these people." 40The commander agreed, so Paul stood on the stairs and motioned to the people to be quiet. Soon a deep silence enveloped the crowd, and he addressed them in their own language, Aramaic. F115

F112: Greek disciples; also in 21:16.
F113: Greek brothers; also in 21:17.
F114: Greek Trophimus, the Ephesian.
F115: Or Hebrew.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Lena's Discipleship Journalin' Today to Acts 20 {It's here now, but You Don't HAVE to read it :-)}

In what order is the hearing or studying of God’s word, on in your list of priorities? Does God get your left over energy? Do we sleep when we hear the word or are we rested, ready to attend to it, and be as alert as guards and keepers of a special treasure?
I remember one time the Holy Spirit spoke to my heart saying, you spend your life everywhere, and when it comes to giving Me the best part, you have already spent it on whatever else is more important to you. Ever have so much of God that you are too tired to watch TV, read the newspaper, go shopping or out for the night on the keep yourself from other pleasures, so you’ll be more awake and available to Him?
These are new thoughts, huh? God thinks this way. He knows what is important to us, what is more important than Him. It is seen by what we do.
The one man in this passage was tired, and I don’t fault him, he was there listening at least, but his weariness, whatever the reason, brought him to a death.
Attending to the word is what gives life back to us. God is more interested in the intent pursuit of the word in demonstration in us. He is looking for the word to become alive in us. So much so that when we do attend meetings, they are like governmental meetings that will require homework of us so we can do what is said. There’s no way that can happen if we are asleep!
We must wake up, not allowing ignorance; we also must re-prioritize, giving God our best, on purpose. That means purpose to give Him the firsts, so we give the best and not the leftovers. Being awake means being aware of all this and living differently because of it. Being asleep in this time, is dangerous, it will lead to our death, but definitely the death of the effectiveness of God’s word being made alive in us.
We have but one message to portray in living form, the exact message Paul had, was awake for, and lived for. This is that message - the necessity of repenting from sin and turning to God, and of having faith in our Lord Jesus.
This is also how we should feel as kingdom citizens and ambassadors: my life is worth nothing to me unless I use it for finishing the work assigned me by the Lord Jesus—the work of telling others the Good News about the wonderful grace of God.
Living for this, is the Christian lifestyle. What else is important? How do we tell others most effectively? By being and doing the word. Can’t be or do if we have never heard or understood the word.
Disciples no longer look for the Lord to chase after them, they accept the offers of the Lord to come and follow, come and meet with Him. In fact they show up without a formal invitation if it means being with or learning from the Lord. They are followers of Christ. They are hungry and know where to get the words that give spirit life.
When I say what I just said, I have not at all neglected the necessity of their get alone with God time, communing with Him in prayer and worship where they are receiving personal instruction and direction. There is just an element that a lot of “followers” miss and that is the portion of following another man as he follows Christ. It would be like Elijah and Elisha, or Jesus and His 12 disciples. In this day, we’d so much rather just stay at home and get in tuned with God for ourselves. Yet He asks us to follow other human beings, and also become ready to lead others to Him. A disciple finds a Christian who is stronger than them and hangs with them as often as possible.
When I say, “hangs with them as much as possible”, I mean where is that person studying the word or giving the word? Go to that place and re-arrange your life to be there. Don’t just show up at their house, but never their Bible Study. Be available to help them with something else they are already doing or working at. Let’s say they serve at the church, find out what day that is on and ask to help alongside them. If they say to your group, “Hey I’m gonna go to such and such a place, you are welcomed to come, if you want to be there”. They are not making a suggestion as in this is all optional. It is not optional for disciples who follow. They are there. They show up. They take the “option” to be there! They take subtle invitations seriously. They’ll know whether you want to or not, the disciples will come, the multitudes will go out and do whatever it was they’d already planned to do. The leader will or won’t see you there, for people always do what they really want to do.
If we want to take our kids to Disney, we do what it takes. If there’s a special ballgame we want to go to, we make arrangements. What do we do about meetings that are called by leaders to assemble with them where they are? How do we respond if it is called on a whim? Are we ahead of the “game? Have we simplified our lives and organized it in such a way that we are willing and able to change plans whenever beckoned by the leader? The disciples left all to follow. Elisha left all to follow, Paul left all while he still worked his job to follow! Why do we count ourselves any different than they are?
Don’t ask to have a personal time , with who you are being beckoned to follow, on a different day than they deem, like instead of showing up for what they are already doing. No, you follow them, fit into their plans. It is great exercise to fitting into God’s plan, rather than making God fit into yours! If they say, “hey we’re doing this”, do it, be a me that makes the we happen for them, make their visions and dreams come true. Lay your own down, even personal dreams for your home and family, bring those under the vision of your church house, spend your time making the church house visions and dreams come true, rather than just participating in some of the stuff done at church, Thinking more like your church has stuff to offer you.
What do you offer your church? When a leader says stuff to a group or to you personally, take it seriously, don’t act like it is a whole lot of great suggestions from someone who is wiser than you, and in your mind you could never do it like them. By faith in God follow after their lead, make the impossible happen. Most of the stuff impossible to you is merely inside of your head. Tell your head what you are doing, to be more flexible and solution oriented, tell it who you are following. Lead your mind into right thinking and right living! Discipline yourself into change of mind and heart. That’s what disciples do, they change!
Do we live to give? Do we live to receive more from God and our leaders, so we can give more? Do we purpose to get enough for us, our house, and to have leftovers to give the world? Or are we already spent on everything and everyone else? I heard my leader tell me once that I kept giving out me all over the nation, yet God set me here in this house to concentrate my efforts here in this place. Here is my ministry, where living people can daily make me accountable to my example. Now whenever I start to spend elsewhere the Holy spirit is so gracious to speak those words again to me and center and focus me in on the place he sent me to. It’s beautiful, for I’m only so big and God knows how to take good care of others. I don’t have to reach out away, spending of me what is meant for my home, family, church and local community. When I get that, he’ll expand my “world” I won’t need to do it.
Paul also said Watch out! How much of a priority is getting and keeping the word of God to us? Enough to be set on watch over our own spirits’, souls, and bodies? Enough to be keepers of the guard, not allowing any way the enemy can get in and steal God’s word form us?
Do we say we can’t or do we believe God, to be able to do more of what He desires and has asked us to do?
I think of a meeting I was in where a leader said we have to read. I have heard so many comments given about that word, seemingly valid excuses. Yet we do what we want to. I hear the more you read the better you read. I believe what we really want we’ll go after, even if it means practice or lessons. It’s like that in other areas of life. We’d learn to read better if it means making more money. People change their personalities, become another person for money, but when God says something like that, they offer a ton of self reliant unbelieving excuses. Can God help me with anything at all? Do I believe He can? Does he cause impossible things to happen? I belive he does. And what better thing to help us with than obeying words he’s give us through teachings and leadership. Words we hear form leaders are edicts of the kingdom of God to obey. He would not give us stuff to do that we can’t do without His strength. He so wants us to be challenged into believing Him for more, even the improvement of our minds and souls. We have the mind of Christ. His mind in us can overcome and learn anything he needs or asks u to. It’s our move, It’s up to us!
What is our gut response when we are told to follow a person? It may be we need to face the giant of rebellion and independent thinking and slay him on purpose. David cut off the mocking head of His giant. It silenced the lies once for all.

Lena Posts TRC"s Daily Bread Reading for Todau Acts 20

Paul Goes to Macedonia and Greece
1 When the uproar was over, Paul sent for the believers[a] and encouraged them. Then he said good-bye and left for Macedonia. 2 While there, he encouraged the believers in all the towns he passed through. Then he traveled down to Greece, 3 where he stayed for three months. He was preparing to sail back to Syria when he discovered a plot by some Jews against his life, so he decided to return through Macedonia.
4 Several men were traveling with him. They were Sopater son of Pyrrhus from Berea; Aristarchus and Secundus from Thessalonica; Gaius from Derbe; Timothy; and Tychicus and Trophimus from the province of Asia. 5 They went on ahead and waited for us at Troas. 6 After the Passover[b] ended, we boarded a ship at Philippi in Macedonia and five days later joined them in Troas, where we stayed a week.

Paul’s Final Visit to Troas
7 On the first day of the week, we gathered with the local believers to share in the Lord’s Supper.[c] Paul was preaching to them, and since he was leaving the next day, he kept talking until midnight. 8 The upstairs room where we met was lighted with many flickering lamps. 9 As Paul spoke on and on, a young man named Eutychus, sitting on the windowsill, became very drowsy. Finally, he fell sound asleep and dropped three stories to his death below. 10 Paul went down, bent over him, and took him into his arms. “Don’t worry,” he said, “he’s alive!” 11 Then they all went back upstairs, shared in the Lord’s Supper,[d] and ate together. Paul continued talking to them until dawn, and then he left. 12 Meanwhile, the young man was taken home unhurt, and everyone was greatly relieved.
Paul Meets the Ephesian Elders
13 Paul went by land to Assos, where he had arranged for us to join him, while we traveled by ship. 14 He joined us there, and we sailed together to Mitylene. 15 The next day we sailed past the island of Kios. The following day we crossed to the island of Samos, and[e] a day later we arrived at Miletus.
16 Paul had decided to sail on past Ephesus, for he didn’t want to spend any more time in the province of Asia. He was hurrying to get to Jerusalem, if possible, in time for the Festival of Pentecost. 17 But when we landed at Miletus, he sent a message to the elders of the church at Ephesus, asking them to come and meet him.

18 When they arrived he declared, “You know that from the day I set foot in the province of Asia until now 19 I have done the Lord’s work humbly and with many tears. I have endured the trials that came to me from the plots of the Jews. 20 I never shrank back from telling you what you needed to hear, either publicly or in your homes. 21 I have had one message for Jews and Greeks alike—the necessity of repenting from sin and turning to God, and of having faith in our Lord Jesus.

22 “And now I am bound by the Spirit[f] to go to Jerusalem. I don’t know what awaits me, 23 except that the Holy Spirit tells me in city after city that jail and suffering lie ahead. 24 But my life is worth nothing to me unless I use it for finishing the work assigned me by the Lord Jesus—the work of telling others the Good News about the wonderful grace of God.

25 “And now I know that none of you to whom I have preached the Kingdom will ever see me again. 26 I declare today that I have been faithful. If anyone suffers eternal death, it’s not my fault,[g] 27 for I didn’t shrink from declaring all that God wants you to know.

28 “So guard yourselves and God’s people. Feed and shepherd God’s flock—his church, purchased with his own blood[h]—over which the Holy Spirit has appointed you as elders.[i] 29 I know that false teachers, like vicious wolves, will come in among you after I leave, not sparing the flock. 30 Even some men from your own group will rise up and distort the truth in order to draw a following. 31 Watch out! Remember the three years I was with you—my constant watch and care over you night and day, and my many tears for you.

32 “And now I entrust you to God and the message of his grace that is able to build you up and give you an inheritance with all those he has set apart for himself.

33 “I have never coveted anyone’s silver or gold or fine clothes. 34 You know that these hands of mine have worked to supply my own needs and even the needs of those who were with me. 35 And I have been a constant example of how you can help those in need by working hard. You should remember the words of the Lord Jesus: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’”

36 When he had finished speaking, he knelt and prayed with them. 37 They all cried as they embraced and kissed him good-bye. 38 They were sad most of all because he had said that they would never see him again. Then they escorted him down to the ship.


Acts 20:1 Greek disciples.
Acts 20:6 Greek the days of unleavened bread.
Acts 20:7 Greek to break bread.
Acts 20:11 Greek broke the bread.
Acts 20:15 Some manuscripts read and having stayed at Trogyllium.
Acts 20:22 Or by my spirit, or by an inner compulsion; Greek reads by the spirit.
Acts 20:26 Greek I am innocent of the blood of all.
Acts 20:28 Or with the blood of his own [Son].
Acts 20:28 Greek overseers.